Student Killed After Shooting at Police at Tenn. High School

On Monday, April 12, a student was killed after authorities say he opened fire on police inside Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville, Tenn. The officers were responding to a report of a gunman on campus. One officer was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and the student died at the school, said police.

Knoxville Police Department officers arrived at the school on Monday afternoon after receiving a report about an armed individual within, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. They located him in a bathroom, ordered him to come out, and entered when he refused. The student fired his weapon, and one officer returned fire, said TBI Director David Rausch. An officer was hit in the upper leg and was taken into surgery. The student died at the scene.

“This wasn’t a school shooting. This was an officer-involved shooting inside of a school. Much different,” said Rausch. “The student hadn’t done anything with the firearm until the officers engaged. So it’s not a school shooting.”

The TBI is investigating the incident, as is common practice for officer-involved shootings, authorities said. It wasn’t immediately clear why the student brought a firearm to school or why he opened fire on police.

According to local news station WBIR, the school went into full lockdown during the event. Once the building was secure, students reconvened at an athletic field behind the school. Parents were instructed to pick up their children at the reunification site set up at the school’s baseball field. Students not involved in the incident were released to their families by late afternoon, said Bob Thomas, Knox County Schools superintendent.

The officer who was shot is expected to recover and is in good spirits, said Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon.

Austin-East Magnet High School will remain closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Four of its students have been killed in separate shooting incidents this year. State Rep. Sam McKenzie, an Austin-East alumnus, said of the incident, “I am at a loss to describe my sadness as yet another horrific act of gun violence has happened in my community. This is the fourth unnecessary shooting involving the Austin East community this year, and we must make sure we take every step and make every effort to prevent these tragedies from continuing to occur.” He also urged people to “reclaim the sanctity of our beloved neighborhood.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning and Campus Security and Life Safety. He can be reached at